Leaving the Boat
The time has come for us to move on to our next adventure! We are leaving the boat and the live aboard life … shocked? Me too!
I’ll get to the why’s and wherefores in a second, but first let me tell ya all what’s going on. We are moving our little family back to the prairies where I’m from. This will be back to my family … and my roots. This is back to the life, land and people that I am familiar with. It’s like going home to the comfort of ‘mom’s cooking’ both literally and figuratively. lol. My children (and the grandparents,) are ecstatic. I’m looking forward to a new path and my wife is definitely looking forward to this new direction we are taking. We’ve loved our time on the boat, but we are equally looking forward to new things (farming maybe?) and having some new experiences in a different part of the world. The prairies are pretty much as far as you can get from water here in Canada, although I always found that looking at a flat water horizon reminded me of the prairie wheat fields waving in the hazy summer breeze. However, boating is in our blood now … plus that land stuff is so disconcertingly stable – no give in it at all! It’s gonna be strange, but I’m sure we’ll adjust somehow.
This was not a decision that came quickly or easily. It is actually a combination of factors that added up to this new direction. I don’t want to share too much of our private life, but here are some key points that we considered:
- children growing and showing signs that they needed space to explore
- ageing parents: we wanted our children to experience the joy of grandparents while everyone was still healthy and able
- wanderlust: If you have it, you know what I’m talking about – if you don’t, it’s hard to explain
- the need for a change of scenery (see wanderlust.)
- a business opportunity that recently opened for me out there
- several business doors that closed for me here
- a desire to get out of the city and back into the country (Both my wife and I are small town kids.)
So my wife and I sat down and went through these many points and factors and decided a move was the best option. This is the very same sort of decision process that people who are thinking of moving aboard should do: add up all the factors, pro’s and con’s and then decide what is the best course of action. It’s advice that I’ve given dozens of times to people who have emailed asking questions about moving aboard a boat.
We are selling our boat.
If you were ever thinking of moving aboard a boat in Toronto or the surrounding areas, this is the perfect boat! Yes, this is a bit of a sales pitch, but it could also be the answer for someone looking to take the live aboard leap.
The boat is a 40′ River Queen house boat. All steel = heavy and stable. Lot’s of living space and all the common comforts that I believe a live aboard should have. These include:
- hot and cold pressure water
- large (for a boat) fridge
- propane gas stove with oven (there’s nothing like fresh baked pie on a boat!)
- 2 heat/cool pumps (AC in the summer and heat in the spring and fall)
- large cabin and bed
- space to sprawl out and wrestle with the kids … build a fort … or just to relax after a hard day at work = as the commercial says: priceless!
… basically all the stuff you expect to have if you live in a house. You see, my thoughts have changed a bit over time on the topic of creature comforts. I used to think that you can live life without all the extra’s, and I still believe that to be true for a while. But for someone living primarily at a dock, there is absolutely no reason not to have all the things that will make us comfortable. It makes the trade off (lack of space) much easier to deal with in the long term. Sure, if cost is an issue, then a boat without a lot of this stuff is still very doable and can be very comfortable. However, for a newbie especially if one was not used to an ‘outdoors’ type of life, the more comforts you have the easier the transition will be.
The boat is literally 21 mins from Union Station via Go Train which means you can leave downtown Toronto and be sitting on the upper deck of your floating cottage with a cold drink in 1/2 an hour! Whether you want to live aboard year round, or just hang out on the ‘dock of the bay’ after a long day at work, this boat in this marina is the ideal setup!
Here are some pictures of our boat:
Please do not email me with questions about the boat. All those should be addressed to Jack our broker from North Lakes Yachting. He can be reached by Email or by phone at 905-891-8207. A shout out to Slavek and Jack and the staff at North Lakes – if you ever wanted a live aboard boat or a great bluewater ocean cruiser (Delphia Yachts) these are the people to deal with!
I will still continue to answer emails about living aboard. If you have questions about living on a boat or about decisions and decisions making, feel free to hit me with ‘em. I’m a little slow on the email replies right now as I’m working mostly from a tablet, but I will try to reply in a more timely manner than I have been.
I hope you all enjoyed our lifelog here and I hope that our living on a boat inspires exploration and adventure in your own life! When we get going on our new adventure I’ll put something up here … until then, fair winds and happy trails!
Boat Shrink Wrap Florida
Boat shrink wrap is the best and most economical way to protect your boat from the elements while it is in storage. If you plan to store your boat for any length of time, especially outdoors you will want to find a way to protect it from the sun and elements. UV rays from the sun, dust, wind, rain and bird droppings are all things that tend to do damage to boats while in storage. Shrink wrap protects your boat from all these plus more!
What Color should I Choose?
Most people use white wrap. White tends to reflect the most light and there is less heat build up inside a boat that is wrapped in white. The other choices are blue and semi-transparent. The blue works well in climates that expect snow in the winter as it absorbs both heat and UV from the sun which prevents snow from building up on the wrap. In Florida, this is (usually) not a problem. Semi-transparent is great if you plan to work on your boat while it is wrapped. Even if you just plan to check on the boat regularly, the semi-transparent wrap allows light to penetrate the wrap and make it easier to see and work on the boat.
One of the drawbacks of using wrap is heat build up when the sun is shining. While we've already suggested that white is the best option to help keep things cool, vents in the the wrap are also an excellent option. A good commercial wrap company will build in vents with just a bit of extra wrap and maybe some wrap tape. Vents allow air to circulate through the boat, removing heat and also preventing moisture buildup. Condensation can be an issue, especially on a boat that has just been pulled the from water. Allow air to move though the boat scrubs moisture from the boat drying it out.
Can I Shrink Wrap My Own Boat?
The whole process of shrink wrapping a boat is not difficult. However, the heating process is the tricky part. Building a frame and pulling the plastic is easy – using the heat gun takes some amount of skill. There is a certain art to wielding a heat gun. The plastic must be heating to just the right temp to shrink tight enough, but not too much to cause it to thin out or worse … burning a hole. If you do shrink your own boat, use smooth even strokes with the heat gun. Work out the correct speed to heat the plastic properly without burning holes.
Hire a Mobile Shrink Wrapping Service
This is probably the best option, especially if you've never wrapped a boat before. A commercial wrap company can usually wrap a boat in a couple of hours. They will make sure the wrap is tight without any bagginess which means that wind and water is shed better. While this is also the most expensive option, it is also the best option for keeping your boat safe and clean while in storage.
Boat Shrink Wrap Companies in Florida
Different Types of Boat Docks
If you own a boat, you must be thinking about installing a boat dock. What is the best type of boat dock for your needs? To answer this question, you must first consider all the boats and other watercraft you own. They are instrumental in determining the right type of boat dock for you. If you are planning to buy additional boats or other watercrafts in the future, you also need to keep them in mind. It is very costly and troublesome to modify or rebuild your current boat dock when a new watercraft arrives.
Aside from the types of watercraft that you own and will own, there are two more things to consider. One is the variation in water levels and the other is the energy of the waves in your area. In some areas, water levels vary only slightly. In other areas, however, the variation is great enough to cause problems for fixed boat docks. You must do a little bit of experiment to record water level variation in your area. Waves can also be problematic sometimes. Some boat docks cannot stand up against very big waves. If your area has small waves, then there is no problem; but if your area has a lot of big waves, make sure that the boat dock you choose can stand up to those waves.
The two main types of boat docks are stationary and floating boat docks. There are also wheeled or portable boat docks and those with slip docks. Furthermore, it is possible to choose a combination of the different types of boat docks in order to arrive at the design you want that also fits your needs and lifestyle. Do not forget that you can use boat docks for a different purpose when it is not in use. You can hold barbecues or parties on it. Your family and friends can surely have tons of fun there. So, keep this in mind when designing your boat dock.
Fixed, standing or stationary boat docks are great for areas with rough water conditions. Boat docks of this type can easily allow waves to pass through its legs. However, if your area has deep water, has significant water level variation or has a muddy bed, then floating boat docks would be better for you. It does not require legs that need to reach the bed to keep it up. Floating boat docks also adjust better to water level fluctuations. Floating boat docks are anchored using cables, ramps, sea anchors or stiff arms.
The boat dock that you choose will be a significant factor in your enjoyment of the waterfront experience. The right dock will last for many, many years. It can hold plenty of barbecue parties for years to come. In addition, it can complement the style of your lakefront home property and maybe increase its value. So spend some time in choosing the right boat dock for you. Make sure that it is durable and attractive, and only requires little maintenance. But first and foremost, it must be able to meet all your boating needs.
Where to Find Authentic Nautical Wall Décor
If you live on a sailboat, your room will not be complete if you do not have nautical wall décor. But even if you live far from the water, there is nothing wrong in decorating your room or your child’s room with authentic nautical wall décor. For most people, pictures or objects about the beach, the sea, sailing and other nautical themes are very relaxing and soothing. Regardless of where you live, you can always bring the ocean closer to your home by using nautical wall décor. Going into a room with a nautical theme complete with authentic nautical wall décor just may be the therapy you need after a stressful day at work.
A nautical themed room with authentic nautical wall décor is not only for adults who want a relaxing environment. Many kids also want their rooms to be decorated with nautical elements. Some kids dream about the glories of sailing into uncharted territories and some want to be pirates. For these kids, a nautical wall décor means a lot fun.
If your child is interested in a room with a nautical theme, you can easily decorate his or her room with nautical wall décor. There are many online sites where you can buy authentic nautical wall décor. You can check out Nautical Antiques & Décor if you live in Texas. You can also browse online at www.nauticalsupplyshop.com and in a number of other online sites.
To liven up your kid’s room with a nautical theme, start with the paint. Choose a paint that looks like the color of the sea. A light or medium shade of blue will work wonderfully. However, any shade of blue will always work. Do not forget to put wall borders around the top or middle of the room. A border with nautical elements like a rope or similar materials will be great.
Instead of painting your wall, you also have the option of using wallpaper. Many types of wallpaper have nautical themes. You can use wallpaper that has pictures of seahorses or other underwater animals or wallpaper drawn with little fishes and bubbles. The only limit is your creativity and imagination. Your choices are almost endless.
Another way to approach the wall of your kid’s room is to divide it into two parts. The top part resembles the sky, and the bottom part resembles the sea. For the top part, it is nice to use a white or off-white paint. Again, you can also use wallpaper that has images of nice clouds and some birds instead.
After painting the room, add more nautical wall décor to make it complete. Purchasing a number of nautical themed accessories to add to your kid’s room is the next step. A fishnet toy holder that you hang from the top of the wall is a nice addition to your kid’s room. Your child will now enjoy tidying up his or her room and placing all toys in this toy holder. A plush toy fish will not be out of place here. There are many other nautical wall décor for you to choose. There are oars, maps, buoys, ropes/rope ladder, anchors and clocks. Take your pick or buy them all.
If you want to, you can even go as far as buying a custom-made bed that is in the shape of a boat. Your child is definitely going to love this one. He or she will feel like a real pirate or sailor sailing the seven seas under a clear sky.
Life Jackets Save Lives
When you are on a boat or riding a jet ski, you should always wear a life jacket. Life jackets are very important and should be worn all the time as much as possible when aboard a watercraft. Do not wait for something dangerous to come up before wearing your life jacket. High-speed crafts like RIBs are very fast; therefore, accidents can happen so suddenly that you will not have the time to grab a life jacket, much less wear one. Life jackets can increase a person’s chances of surviving a boat accident most especially in rough, open water and in remote regions where it might take some time before rescue arrives.
Due to the importance of life jackets, the US Coast Guard has several legislation regarding their use. For instance, they have a regulation that recreational boats must have life jackets or wearable personal floatation devices onboard. The number of life jackets should at least be equal to the number of persons aboard the boat so that each person can have one personal floatation device. Boats that are 16 feet or longer should also have at least one personal floatation device that can be thrown to someone in the water. But having life jackets onboard is not enough. The life jackets must be easily accessible and not hidden somewhere in the bottom of a trunk, or securely tied to the side of the boat.
But even with the numerous federal and state rules and regulations regarding the use of life jackets, many people still do not use them. People have numerous reasons, but none is valid. Some people choose not to wear life jackets because they think life jackets do not look good. For them life jackets are just plain ugly to look at. However, newer life jackets are stylish. They do not look like big orange chunks of foam anymore. Many manufacturers of life jackets have been targeting the style conscious market of beach goers and boaters. Lately, there is even a prototype of a bikini life jacket. This bikini life jacket has floatation materials sewn into places where a bikini normally covers the female body. To encourage children to wear life jackets, you can now buy devices with popular cartoon characters. So, do not be surprised to see SpongeBob life jackets at the beach.
Another reason why some people do not wear life jackets is that they consider themselves strong swimmers. Are life jackets not necessary for you if you are a strong swimmer? I do not think so. Even if you are a strong swimmer, life jackets can still be of great help in making sure that you survive. In case of a boat collision, you might be thrown off and hit something hard. The padding in life jackets can help absorb some of the impact and minimize injuries. In addition, most life jackets normally have bright, reflective colors. This can help a lot in search and rescue operations, especially at night. Finally, even if you are a strong swimmer, you will soon tire of treading water. This is a huge problem when you are in a remote area where rescue may take some time.
Never underestimate the value of life jackets. Look for one that fits you perfectly and always wear it whenever there is even a small chance of falling into the water. Life jackets are supposed to be worn, not hidden in some storage compartment.
Boat Seats: What are Your Options?
If you search long enough around the Internet, you will find a variety of boat seats. You might even get confused due to the number of different types and styles of boat seats to choose from. So, if you are planning to buy boat seats, the first thing you must do is to be familiar with the different styles, sizes, shapes and types that are available in the market. The boat seat that you want to buy is one that is affordable and made of excellent quality materials. Look for the perfect boat seat that would complement your boat, enhance its look and improve its comfort level. However, try not to spend a fortune doing it.
The type of boat that you own will normally dictate and narrow down your boat seat options. If your boat is a luxury cruiser that is built for fun and leisure, you should not select a boat seat that is wobbly or cramped. If, on the other hand, yours is a fishing boat, do not bother purchasing boat seats that are a bit on the expensive side and have the highest quality cushions. Those comfy cushions could easily be damaged after you put your fishing boxes on them. Buy the right type of boat seat to match your boat.
In the case of ferryboats, there are quite a few people aboard at the same time; therefore, saving room is of utmost importance. That is why it is common to see boat seats placed back to back from each other in ferryboats. This type of boat seat is appropriate for this kind of boat because you can save plenty of valuable space using this arrangement. You do not necessarily neglect comfort when it comes to ferryboat seats; it just takes a back seat. The more people you can safely cram in a ferryboat, the better; seats that save a lot of space are the order of the day here.
Luxury boats need a different type of boat seat. Here, you are not concerned about cramming a number of people in the boat. Durability is also not the first thing on your list. What you need for this boat is an extremely comfortable boat seat. Choose a boat seat with comfy cushions if it is to be located indoors such as in a cabin. For boat seats that will be placed outdoors like in the deck, those that have ultraviolet sun protection are ideal. The looks of the seat are also very important for this type of boat. Look for a boat seat that will complement the interior or exterior of your boat.
With the advent of the Internet, finding the right boat seat for your boat is very easy. There are many online stores selling boat parts and accessories. Google is your friend. Do not forget to check online forums dedicated to boating, too. You can get useful buying tips and bargains there. Auction sites like eBay are also good options. If you do some sleuthing around, you can also spot bargains in sites like Craigslist.com. Do not limit yourself only to cyberspace. Check the classified ads in your local newspaper. You might be able to get a good deal there. Finally, if you are skilled and handy with tools, and have an eye for design, there are even websites that teach you how to make your own custom boat seats. Take your pick.
How to Find a Boat Accident Attorney
A boat accident refers to vessels that experience capsizing, grounding, flooding, swamping, sinking, fire or explosion, ski mishap, collision with another vessel, collision with a foreign object, striking a submerged object, etc. The most common watercrafts that are involved in boating accidents are typically powerboats such as runabouts, cabin cruisers and jet skis. Sailboats can be involved in accidents as well, though such instances are less common. Propeller accidents and collisions frequently cause most injuries.
When someone you know encounters a boat accident, you must see to it that a boating accident report is filed. You must also seek a boat accident attorney. A boat accident attorney is a lawyer specializing in accidents involving watercraft. When you look for a boat accident attorney, try to determine whether he or she has experience in boat accident cases. An experienced boat accident attorney can really help you a lot in your case. It would even be better if you can find a boat accident attorney who is not only well versed in boat accidents but also a boater himself or herself.
You must also look for a boat accident attorney who practices within the place where your case will be tried. Do not select out of town lawyers. You will incur additional costs if your boat accident lawyer has to travel a great distance to represent you in court. A boat accident attorney who practices locally has the advantage of knowing the other players like the opposing counsel and the judge. This will speed up the litigation of your case, as they are already familiar with each other. There will be more harmony and lesser misunderstandings in the courtroom as they have probably worked together already in the past. Additionally, if you have questions regarding the case or if you need to meet with your attorney to prepare for a coming hearing, it is easier to go to your lawyer’s office if he or she practices locally.
Another thing to consider when choosing a boat accident attorney is his or her communication skills with nonprofessionals. Make sure that your lawyer explains things to you in plain language. Law is already technical enough without adding boating terms and concepts to the equation. Your boat accident attorney might be very good in communicating in the courtroom but if both of you cannot understand each other very well, it could hurt your case. You need to provide him or her with vital information regarding the accident. There is no room for miscommunication between the two of you.
The boat accident attorney that you choose must also be willing to settle and compromise. However, she must also be willing and capable of fighting for your right with all her might when it becomes necessary. Arriving at a settlement or compromise agreement can be a good thing. Litigation is too costly and takes a huge amount of time and effort. If your boat accident attorney is skilled in negotiation, you might be able to win without having to fight at all. Nevertheless, not every party is willing to settle or compromise. The opposing party might be more inclined to duke it out in court. If that is the case, your boat accident attorney must be ready, able and willing to fight for you.
Steps to Avoiding a Boat Accident
Unlike cars, it is a bit more difficult to maneuver a boat. A boat’s steering mechanism is not as responsive as that of most land-based vehicles. You cannot change directions as quickly as you can in a car or a motorcycle. Boats also do not immediately stop when you “step on the brakes.” Therefore, you need to be very prepared, cautious and alert when you skipper a boat in order to prevent a boat accident.
Boat accidents cause some of the most tragic deaths in the United States. There were more than five thousand boat accidents recorded in the whole country during the year 2007. These boat accidents caused around three thousand injuries. Boat accident damages reached up to fifty million US dollars. These figures should be enough to encourage boaters to educate themselves on how to avoid a boat accident.
But first, you need to know what a boat accident means. A boat accident refers to vessels that experience capsizing, grounding, flooding, swamping, sinking, fire or explosion, ski mishap, collision with another vessel, collision with a foreign object, striking a submerged object, etc. Of all the accident types enumerated, you must especially pay close attention to collision with another vessel. This is the number one thing to watch out for whenever you are on a motor boat. Collision with another vessel tops the list of the top five primary boat accidents. Compared to the other types of boat accidents, a collision with another vessel is more than two times more likely to happen than any other type of boat accident.
There are a number of primary contributing factors in a boat accident. First on the list is the careless or reckless operation of the vessel. The next is plain inattention. Other factors are inexperience, passenger behavior, excessive speed and the use of alcohol. Dealing with these primary contributing factors can greatly help you avoid a boat accident.
Knowing the primary contributing factors in a boat accident is the first step to avoid such accidents. If you can eliminate these factors, then you will be much safer. Of course, there are not a lot of things you can do about the weather and hazardous waters. You just have to tune in to weather reports and forecasts, and stay home or dock when the weather is tough. Most boat accidents, though, are preventable. They are usually caused by negligent actions of either the passengers or the skipper. According to the coast guard, human error accounts for more boat accidents than natural phenomena do.
Since careless or reckless operation of the vessel and inattention round up the top two primary contributing factors in a boat accident, you should strive to be cautious and careful all the time. Avoid alcohol as it lowers your reaction time and makes you reckless. Always keep your eyes open and watch out for any object or vessel near your craft. Control your speed. Do not move faster than you can react when something comes up. Finally, do not neglect proper education. Taking a boat safety course is the best thing that you can do to prevent many boat accidents.
Making Money Online to Live on A Boat
One of the most common questions that I get is:
– How can I make enough money to live on a boat? Sometimes the question varies … such as:
– how can I earn money while sailing?
– Or, how can I make enough money to sail around the world? Questions like that.
As you can see, I've not posted to my blog here for some time. To be honest, I kind of ran out of things to talk about. Life on a boat is just normal to us – the everyday stuff is just not that exciting, and it just got hard to write about the mundane stuff. However, I thought that I would write one more post about how someone with little money and some time could easily build an income to the point where you could sail around the world … or just live life at the dock.
For the past year I've been writing. A LOT! So has my wife. I had always been searching for a way to make money online so that we could be free from the 9-5 job, free to take time to raise our kids and maybe even free enough to sail around the world if we chose to. Having a land based business really ties us to the dock, in fact, I sort of resent having to leave my boat to go to work each day. I searched out several methods of making money online including product sales, ebooks, etc. I finally settled on writing as the simplest and quickest way to make money online.
My wife already had a very successful scrapbooking blog (www.scrapscene.com) where we sold some simple advertising and a few ebooks. This worked out well for her as she was able to pursue one of her passions (scrapbooking) and make money doing it. The problem was, posting everyday … keeping up with what is new … and generally coming up with new and enticing information is a labour intensive project. She likes it, but some days it just feels like a regular job to her. However, our experience with ScrapScene did show us that money could be made writing, and with the experience we gained from her blog we searched for other methods of writing that could generate money while not being so daily labour intensive. We finally found an online school that promised to teach us how to write and what to write to make money online: The Keyword Academy.
We joined the school for a nominal fee and quickly went through the teaching videos. What we found there was a systematic, step-by-step methodology outlining how to pick a topic, set up a blog and promote that blog to make money. We were hooked! Since then we've been writing … and writing … and writing! And it is beginning to pay off! Last month we earned $980.57 from our writing. This income is from writing that we did 6 or 8 months ago and is totally residual income. We really don't have to write another word and would still earn close to that each month for the foreseeable future.
The Academy is composed of a couple of guys from the US (Court and Mark) who have been teaching people how to make money online several years. They have thousands of successful students, a great learning website and a vibrant forum community where literally hundreds of students share ideas, groupthink solutions to problems and generally encourage and support each other. They have a video library that teaches you the basics of their method. They also have several live video teaching sessions each month where they address specific topics, answer questions and generally address current issues. They also supply all the online tools you will need to develop your online business. In short, The Keyword Academy is an online school that teaches you how to make money online.
Yep – this sounds like a sales pitch … it is. For those of you who are dreaming of living on a boat, or sailing around the world, or even just breaking free from your 9-5 job, this is the best advice I can give you. I know it works because it has been working for us for months now. Give it a whirl … the first month is free, so you don't even have to put out any money to give it a test run.
If you do sign up, be sure to say hello to me. My user name is Strathy.
Baby on Board a Boat
Guest Post – written by my wife – ‘A’
We often receive emails from people with specific questions about living on a boat with a baby. So we thought it about time we do a post to answer some of those questions and give you a bit more details about how to live on a boat with a baby.
Living on a boat with a baby really isn’t all that difficult. It’s really just a matter of what you’re used to. Accommodating the baby’s needs and finding workable solutions to ensure their health and safety is the priority. I think that often we make things more difficult by overthinking the situation. Looking after babies shouldn’t be overly complex. Our experiences taught us that it is doable and just as rewarding caring for a baby onboard as it is on land.
Here is a bit of a background. Our son (aka The Boy), now 4 years old, was only 9 months old when we moved aboard our Alberg 30′ sailboat. We weren’t sure exactly what to expect at the beginning. Sure we read lots of books and articles about families cruising with young children, but nothing really compares to actually experiencing it yourself. We found a lot of our answers through simply trying it out.
17 months ago, when we brought our daughter (The Girl) home to live on our 40′ cruiser, she was just 2 days old. We were much more comfortable with the idea then and I don’t think we really had any nervousness about how it would work out.
Below is some information that will hopefully answer questions for a lot of you out there who are contemplating doing the same thing. I will try to give scenarios to discuss our situation in the smaller 30′ sailboat vs. the larger 40′ cruiser. Our new boat improves our situation in some areas of child care… as you will discover.
Experiencing pregnancy on the 30′ sailboat had it’s challenges – I’m sure that goes without saying. When I was pregnant with The Boy, we were still living in a house in the city. We would take the boat out for a sail now and then. Eventually ‘T’ would have to go on these little trips by himself. You see morning sickness and sea sickness seem pretty closely connected. Suffice it to say we had to have a pail handy and those sea bands really didn’t help me. As time went on, the issue was not morning sickness, but just the general tossing and turning of the boat in the waves while sailing. It was just uncomfortable to be a passenger.
Later when we discovered we were expecting The Girl (well we didn’t know it was a girl at the time, LOL!), we were living on the 30′ sailboat. At first it really wasn’t any different than living in a “dirt dweller’s” home. The boat was stable enough while at the dock so it didn’t have any effect on the morning sickness. As time wore on, however, it did become more difficult climbing in and out of the boat, down the companionway and of course up into the v-berth. Eventually I slept on the settee to avoid having to climb up into the v-berth.
During the last month of my pregnancy, we moved onto the boat we are on now – the 40′ River Queen cruiser. The only issue I noticed on this boat was that once we put the frame and plastic up for the winter, it was difficult for me to squeeze that belly down the side of the boat to the doorway to get inside!
Labour on this boat was probably no different than in any other home. We timed the contractions and then left for the hospital at the appropriate time, leaving my mother to care for The Boy. 2 days later, we brought The Girl home to live on a boat!
When we were living on the sailboat, since The Boy was still very young (9 months old), we had him sleep in the v-berth with us. ‘T’ made up a lee cloth of sorts that clipped on 4 corners and attached at the v-berth opening. This way we didn’t need to worry about him falling out. It served a dual purpose as well. A play pen. It was a great place to put him for playing if we needed some hands free time or didn’t want him to get into something we were working on – like receipts for doing our taxes, LOL!
As The Boy got older, he kicked us in his sleep a lot, plus he was growing! So, it became time to make him his own bed. ‘T’ fashioned a high lee cloth to attach to one of the settees. He attached it along the underside of the settee, screwed into a piece of wood. When taken out, it clipped on to 3 sides to create a safe little haven for him to sleep in. For practicality reasons, we used this bed for him at night time. During his daytime naps, he still used the v-berth.
Later, we moved to a larger boat when we discovered we were expecting The Girl. At first The Boy, not quite 3 at the time, slept on a fold out couch in the bedroom which pulled out into a single bed. We would stick a pillow beside him so he wouldn’t roll out and soon discovered that this was no longer necessary. When The Girl came, she slept in a floor bassinette for several months. This worked well until she could climb out of it. Then it was time for something new.
‘T’ bought a set of bunk beds from Ikea. Due to space limitations on our boat, he had to not only shorten the length, but the width as well. He built them in to the space we had set aside after removing the pull out couch. The Boy sleeps on the top bunk and The Girl sleeps on the bottom bunk. We have netting that clips all the way around on two sides. (The other two sides are against a wall.) This is where she sleeps for naps and at nighttime as well. We are fortunate that The Boy sleeps through anything as she was not a great sleeper from the beginning.
When we were on the 30′ sailboat, it wasn’t always convenient to set up the table for meals. Our table top was stored above the v-berth. It had a pipe that screwed in to support the table top, underneath one of the settees. When set up it didn’t afford a lot of room for moving around, so we mostly didn’t bother with it. Instead, ‘T’ and I would usually eat from a plate on our laps or along the counter space.
For The Boy, we used a portable booster seat/feeding chair with tray. We would set it up on the settee and he would be strapped in and fed his meals in that. When not in use, we would store it under the v-berth.
On the 40′ cruiser, we actually have a kitchen table where we eat at. For The Boy, he now sits on a small wooden toy box from Ikea that doubles as his chair at the table. The Girl sits on her brother’s old feeding chair with tray. It is attached to a chair and pulled up to the table. We just leave it attached when not in use.
As mentioned above, The Boy would sometimes play up in the v-berth when we lived on the 30′ sailboat. As well, when we had the frame and plastic cover on the boat during the winter months, the outside area of the boat made for a great play area. Especially the cockpit area. We set up a nice carpet on the floor in the cockpit and put his toys out there. He had a great time in that cockpit. It was also large enough that he could ride his little 4 wheeled ‘bus.’ He would also roam around on other areas of the boat. Up at the bow was where we kept his tricycle. There was a small space there for him to play with that.
During the summer season, when there was no frame on, play areas on the boat were much more limited. He would be more or less confined to either the inside of the boat or the cockpit. We let him play in the cockpit, supervised in the summer. We didn’t have a canopy to cover the cockpit from sunshine so we’d set up a blanket instead and also a little wading pool. Lots of fun. Of course, we often would go out biking and walks to nearby playgrounds and parks as well.
Inside the boat, we stored his toys in a plastic bin with lid under the v-berth as well as one of the drawers under a settee was reserved for his toys. His books and clothing were stored along with our clothing on shelves in the v-berth. Toys are something that we still battle with. Every once in awhile we have to go through and fill a bag for donation!
There is a lot more play space on our current boat. The kids can play anywhere inside the boat. As discussed in the section on Feeding above, toys are stored in a toy box which doubles as The Boy’s ‘chair’ at the kitchen table. As well, there are stuffed animals hanging pocket contraption in the back bedroom. More toys are also stored outside in a plastic bin with lid.
During the winter, the kids have a huge play area out on the back deck. There is a door from the bedroom leading out onto it. We’ve lined the floor with those colourful puzzle playmats. Most of their toys are out there and they go out there at will to play. The Boy also climbs the ladder to the top deck so he can play by himself sometimes – having a younger sister who pulls hair isn’t always fun to play with! In the summer this area is not available for playing on unless they are supervised and have life jackets on. (Note: see our article on safety aboard with children to learn about the ‘turtle’ watch that we use as well.)
Bathing a baby on the smaller sailboat was a little more challenging than our current situation. It was something we just got used to however, so it really wasn’t much of an issue. We had a simple white plastic baby bathtub. Since there was no shower aboard, in the winter we hauled warm water to bathe him in it. We simply laid out towels and set it up on the settee and gave him his bath there. Other times either one of us would carry the baby bathtub with us to the marina showers and set it up in the shower stall. Sometimes it seemed easier to do this. I would have my shower while the baby was in the bathtub right beside me.
In the summertime, we would either do the same as above or even put the baby bathtub in the cockpit and bathe him in there. We didn’t have warm water though, so we’d boil some hot water on the stove to add to his bath water or haul it from the marina.
On the larger boat, we still use the baby bathtub. We have the luxury of having a shower stall now! The baby bathtub actually fits on the floor of the shower stall. During the winter, we would either haul warm water for their baths, or bring them up to the marina showers as we used to do. In the summer, we have hot water right from the pressurized taps (another luxury!), so they bathe on board in the tub set in the shower stall.
Learning to Walk
The Boy was a late walker. He didn’t really start walking fully until about 13-14 months. There wasn’t really a lot of room for walking on the sailboat so we’d take him out and get him practice on the main docks. He was crawling early on and since we were in the boat, he climbed a lot too – up onto the settee, then up onto the ice box, up the ladder, etc.
The Girl started learning to walk around 10 months. We were on the larger boat plus she had the advantage of having an elder brother to emulate!
We have thought about it and don’t think that living on the smaller boat had a lot to do with limiting when The Boy began to walk. He really wasn’t stuck at home a lot – we were always out and about so there was plenty of opportunity to do it when he was ready.
When we were on the 30′ sailboat, we had a little portable potty that we used for The Boy. We would store it underneath the v-berth and pull it out whenever it was needed. We also had a little child-sized toilet seat that would fit on top of the regular toilet. We found that this wasn’t convenient however, as the toilet was raised up so high that his feet couldn’t reach the floor, even with a stool. So we stuck with the potty instead.
He was only partially trained when we were on the smaller boat. It wasn’t until he was a little older and on the larger boat that he learned to be fully trained. We tried the potty as well as the child-sized toilet seat. We ended up having more success with the toilet seat at that stage in the game. With The Girl, we haven’t begun to toilet train her yet. I imagine we will try both methods with her as well to see which one she works best with.
Toilet training on the boat really isn’t much different from in a “dirt dweller’s” house. It’s just a matter of the childs’ preferences and readiness as to which method works best.
Sailing / Cruising
When sailing out on the 30′ sailboat with The Boy, we used to put him in the baby car seat. We attached it to the cockpit and fastened him in. This way we could be hands free for handling the boat and he was safe and out of the way. As he got older, we allowed him to be out of the seat, but with a tether on his life jacket so he couldn’t stray out of the cockpit.
We have friends here who had their daughter attached to the cockpit in a similar fashion. C&V had a jogging stroller with no wheels bolted down to their cockpit. Their daughter would be strapped in there to keep her safe. While at dock, J&E sometimes had their baby daughter in a baby swing attached to the boom. What a great view!
Up & Down the Dock
When we are at our winter slip, we are very close to the main dock. It is just a short few steps to climb the ramp and be up on the mainland. The Boy wears his life jacket all the time he is out there. When he was younger he would also hold our hand. The Girl does this now, but when she was just a baby, we would simply carry her back and forth. Sometimes in our arms and sometimes in her carseat.
I think that covers the major topics of raising a baby on a boat. If anyone has anything else they’d like us to discuss, please let us know in the comments. I will finish with a list of things that I think are necessities for living on a boat with a baby. (The obvious are not mentioned.) You will notice that there really isn’t much here. Plus some are things that you would need if you lived in a dirt-dweller’s house.
Baby on Board Necessities
- baby bath tub – Pick the simplest, plainest, and cheapest one there is because if you’re like us and store it out on deck the sun will make cracks in it and you’ll end up replacing it anyway!
- portable feeding chair – When the child is old enough to be fed real food, having one of these is indispensable. Ours is collapsible and thus stores very small for when it isn’t in use.
- life jacket and tether – for cruising and at dock
- safety netting – Install this all around your boat. It’s a project we did on the sailboat and plan to do it on this new boat as well.
- ‘turtle’ watch – Alarm goes off when it gets wet. Have your child wear it when outdoors.
- baby gates.